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A Mountain Europa(Chapter8)

2006-08-29 01:19

  Chapter VIII

  Clayton shunned all self-questioning after that night. Stirred to the depths by that embrace on the mountain-side, he gave himself wholly up to the love or infatuation-he did not ask which-that enthralled him. Whatever it was, its growth had been subtle and swift. There was in it the thrill that might come from taming some wild creature that had never known control, and the gentleness that to any generous spirit such power would bring. These, with the magnetism of the girl's beauty and personality, and the influence of her environment, he had felt for a long time; but now richer chords were set vibrating in response to her great love, the struggle she had against its disclosure, the appeal for tenderness and protection in her final defeat. It was ideal, he told himself, as he sank into the delicious dream; they two alone with nature, above all human life, with its restraints, its hardships, its evils, its distress. For them was the freedom of the open sky lifting its dome above the mountains; for them nothing less kindly than the sun shining its benediction; for their eyes only the changing beauties of day and night; for their ears no sound harsher than the dripping of dew or a bird-song; for them youth, health, beauty, love. And it was primeval love, the love of the first woman for the first man. She knew no convention, no prudery, no doubt. Her life was impulse, and her impulse was love. She was the teacher now, and he the taught; and he stood in wonder when the plant he had tended flowered into such beauty in a single night. Ah, the happy, happy days that followed! The veil that had for a long time been unfolding itself between him and his previous life seemed to have almost fallen, and they were left alone to their happiness. The mother kept her own counsel. Raines had disappeared as though Death had claimed him. And the dream lasted till a summons home broke into it as the sudden flaring up of a candle will shatter a reverie at twilight.

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